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April 1988

Cost of Treating Advanced Leg Ischemia: Bypass Graft vs Primary Amputation

Author Affiliations

From the Vascular Surgery Sections, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles (Drs Raviola, Nichter, Busuttil, Machleder, and Moore), and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Sepulveda, Calif (Dr Baker). Dr Raviola is now with the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Dr Nichter is now with the Children's Hospital, Los Angeles.

Arch Surg. 1988;123(4):495-496. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400280105021

• We compared the hospital costs of 94 patients undergoing femoropopliteal bypass grafts with those of 53 patients undergoing primary amputation. The total cost of uncomplicated bypass surgery averaged $20300, compared with $14000 for uncomplicated below-knee amputation. However, including the cost of prosthesis and rehabilitation, the total cost of primary amputation was $20400, equivalent to that of the bypass operation. Complications requiring revision of a bypass graft Increased hospitalization by 4.5 days with the total cost rising to $28700; complications that ended with major amputation added 15 hospitalization days and had an average cost of $42200. In contrast, complicated below-knee amputation cost $40600 and added 12.5 hospitalization days. There is therefore no cost-benefit in primary amputation when compared with arterial reconstruction, and cost should not be used to deny a patient the opportunity for limb salvage.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:495-496)